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Thursday, 28 March, 2002, 20:29 GMT
'Kiss and tell' appeal fails
A married Premier League footballer who had affairs with two women could be named this weekend, after he failed in a final attempt to get his identity kept secret.

Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, refused to extend a ban on naming the player - which runs out at midnight on Friday - while he tried to get the House of Lords to hear his case.

He said the footballer had left his appeal too late, and that there had been so much publicity about the case that the reasons for the original injunction were no longer valid.


The claimant was anxious to protect his wife and child... but the claimant it appears has himself said something to his wife

Lord Woolf

He added that the player himself may be planning to give his side of the story to the media.

He was reported to be negotiating with another newspaper with a view to selling his version of what had happened in what was perhaps "a spoiling tactic".

Lord Woolf said: "One of the main reasons why the court was prepared to grant a stay [of injunction] was because... the claimant was anxious to protect his wife and child from the damaging consequences of the publicity.

"But the claimant it appears has himself said something to his wife, apparently not the full story, as to what has happened."

Easter break

The saga began last year when the Sunday People prepared interviews with a lap-dancer and a nursery school teacher who claimed to have had affairs with the footballer.


The claimants did not do all that they could have done to emphasise to the House of Lords the urgency of the matter

Lord Woolf

The player won a High Court ruling in September that the story could break confidentiality laws and was granted an injunction.

But earlier this month Lord Woolf and other appeal court judges overturned that ruling, saying it had been an "unjustified interference with the freedom of the press".

The footballer was given three weeks [until 1 April] to appeal to the House of Lords and convince them that they should hear his case.

But on Thursday Lord Woolf said his lawyers had not done so in time, bearing in mind the legal Easter vacation began on Thursday.

"It does appear to me the claimants did not do all that they could have done to emphasise to the House of Lords the urgency of the matter as early as they should," he said.

The judge ordered the footballer to pay the costs of his failed application, estimated in the region of 4,000.

See also:

11 Mar 02 | UK
Press versus privacy
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